Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will join the record of former Prime Minister Morarji Desai when she presents the sixth consecutive budget on February 1.
With the presentation of the interim budget on February 1, the woman will surpass the records of predecessors like Manmohan Singh, Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram and Yashwant Sinha who presented five budgets in a row.
History is like this
As the Union Finance Minister, Morarji Desai presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964. The Interim Budget 2024-25 presented by Sitharaman on February 1 will be on account of vote. The full budget will be presented after the new government comes to power after the general elections in April-May.
With elections due, there is no room for major policy changes in the interim budget. It is hinted that the budget will only be a vote on account before the general elections.
The vote-on-account, once approved by Parliament, will empower the government to withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund of India for expenditure during the April-July period.
While major announcements are unlikely in the interim budgets, necessary steps can be taken to deal with the immediate issues facing the economy. After the Modi government came to power in 2014, Arun Jaitley took charge of the finance ministry and presented five consecutive budgets from 2014-15 to 2018-19. In 2017, Jaitley moved away from the colonial-era tradition of presenting the budget from the last working day of February to the 1st of the month.
Piyush Goyal, who held additional charge of the ministry due to Jaitley’s ill health, presented the Interim Budget 2019-20 on 1 February 2019. After the 2019 general elections, Nirmala Sitharaman was given the charge of the finance department in the Modi government. Nirmala Sitharaman became the second woman to present the budget after Indira Gandhi who presented the budget for the financial year 1970-71.